Journalism’s 60:40

The love-hate relationship with my job has always been a solid 60:40.

For a long time I accepted my low income as par for the course. If it meant I could follow my passion, I didn’t care what I was paid. Or, at least, I didn’t care enough to seriously look elsewhere. I was doing good journalism and that’s all that mattered.

But I don’t get paid for quality. I get paid for page views. I get paid for click bait.

Right now I’m trying to sell a piece about a horrible injustice that’s afflicting children in South America (being vague on purpose, sorry). It’s probably the most important story I’ve ever reported. It’ll take at least two weeks of work to do the article justice.

The most I’ve been offered is $400—including photos.

Is this whining? No. I’ve been lowballed more times than I can remember. It’s a tough game, and you have to be tough to play it. But when stories about makeup and weight loss net me $1k and stories of actual importance reach a high of $400… You have to take a step back and reconsider your career path.

Recently I’ve been taking questionnaires and soul-searching (ugh!) and reading books. If I’m going to leave journalism, I need to find a new occupation. And therein lies the problem. What will I do? Every, single quiz tells me I should be a reporter. All my soul-searching and book reading just confirms it.

I love my profession, but 60:40 isn’t an acceptable ratio any longer.

A friend of mine and brilliant news guy, Yuri Victor, gave a talk at Poynter recently. He outlines some straightforward and amazing tips on how the news industry can reinvent itself to avoid burnout and retain talent. I hope They take his advice.

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